The Daily Gamecock

Letter to the Editor: CarolinaCard replacements fee is arbitrary, needless

Cost of necessity should not drain students’ wallets

I would like to draw students’ attention to the excessive cost of replacing a CarolinaCard if it is lost (currently set at $35). The CarolinaCard office located in the Russell House building is responsible for the administration involved in providing students and faculty with replacement cards.
I lost my wallet (or it was stolen) containing my student ID on the way back from an academic conference I attended in Montreal. I was upset to learn of the $35 charge for a replacement and inquired what the cost of the card was for. I was told initially that “all fees in our office only offset our costs.” When I suggested that this was unreasonable because the cost of the card should reflect the expense of the card itself and the time gone into replacing it, I was told that “the cost of the card does not offset costs in other areas of the CarolinaCard office.”

The card takes less than five minutes to print out, and it would simply be ridiculous if the price of a card with a printed barcode actually cost anywhere near the $35 demanded by the CarolinaCard office. Obviously, it does not. I again asked for more information regarding how the cost of a replacement is calculated but this information was not forthcoming. Instead, the office’s director agreed to waive the fee, as I pointed out that not having an ID adversely impacts the student experience since we rely on so many services available exclusively through the card (to access the library and gym facilities to name but two).

In the end, I offered a $15 donation to the office which they received quite ungraciously, without a “thank you” email to acknowledge my gesture. I urge the relevant representatives of the student body to take up this issue and bring pressure on the CarolinaCard office to demand a fairer deal. The $35 figure is arbitrary and unreasonable because it does not reflect the cost of the service. Of course, I acknowledge there should be a cost of replacement in order to discourage negligence, but the cost should certainly not exceed $15. Moreover, every other university I have been at (including Essex, Bristol, Sheffield, Royal Holloway — London and Uppsala in Sweden), the cost of student ID card replacement has been no more than the equivalent of $16 … so something is obviously wrong here at USC.

To students, I would encourage you to fight the unreasonable charges by writing letters of complaint to the director of the CarolinaCard office.

Anmol Kalsi is a doctoral library and information science international student.